Google’s new privacy policies are aimed at keeping spam off the Chrome Web Store

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In order to ensure that the Chrome Web Store is free from abuse, Google has an abuse system and a review team set in place that constantly monitors new extensions submitted to the platform. However, despite the company’s efforts, a few developers still manage to publish malicious extensions to exploit Google Chrome users. To address this issue, Google has made some policy changes in the past to make extensions more secure. But even then, a few developers have managed to publish malicious and misleading extensions on the platform. For instance, earlier this year Google had to temporarily suspend paid Chrome extensions on the Chrome Web Store due to a significant increase in the number of fraudulent transactions. In a bid to further improve its review process and keep spam off the platform, Google has now announced new privacy policies for the Chrome Web Store.

According to a recent blog post from the company, the following policy changes are intended to keep spam off the Chrome Web Store and ensure that users have a better experience discovering new extensions on the platform:

  • Developers or their affiliates should not publish multiple extensions that provide duplicate experiences or functionality on the Chrome Web Store.
  • Extensions should not have misleading, improperly formatted, non-descriptive, irrelevant, excessive, or inappropriate metadata, including but not limited to the extension’s description, developer name, title, icon, screenshots, and promotional images. Developers must provide a clear and well-written description. Unattributed or anonymous user testimonials in the app’s description are also not allowed.
  • Developers must not attempt to manipulate the placement of any extensions in the Chrome Web Store. This includes, but is not limited to, inflating product ratings, reviews, or install counts by illegitimate means, such as fraudulent or incentivized downloads, reviews and ratings.
  • Extensions with a single purpose of installing or launching another app, theme, webpage, or extension are not allowed.
  • Extensions that abuse, or are associated with the abuse of, notifications by sending spam, ads, promotions, phishing attempts, or unwanted messages that harm the user’s browsing experience are not allowed. Extensions that send messages on behalf of the user without giving the user the ability to confirm the content and intended recipients are also not allowed.

These new policies are already in effect and developers will have to comply with them by August 27th, 2020. After that date, extensions that violate the new policy may be taken down from the Chrome Web Store and disabled. In you’re a developer and you’re interested in reading more about the new policy changes, you can head over to the updated Developer Program Policies by following this link and, in case you have any doubts, you can check out the Spam Policy FAQ by following this link.


Source: Chromium Blog

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